Remote Control: Remote Working Tips from a World Wide Web Developer

If you’re one of the millions of Americans now working remotely, you’ve probably realized it isn’t all sunshine and stretchy pants. But don’t worry, Garrison Hughes interactive developer, Duncan Falk, is here to help. He started working remotely before it was cool (read: mandatory) and he’s mastered the art of delivering world-class work while away from the office. Far, far away from the office.

1. Pittsburgh, USA; 2. Mexico City, Mexico; 3. Medellín, Colombia; 4. Bogotá, Colombia; 5. Lima, Peru; 6. Córdoba, Argentina; 7. Buenos Aires, Argentina; 8. Reykjavik, Iceland; 9. Lisbon, Portugal; 10. London, United Kingdom; 11. Amsterdam, Netherlands; 12. Copenhagen, Denmark; 13. Berlin, Germany; 14. Prague, Czech Republic; 15. Split, Croatia; 16. Phnom Penh, Cambodia; 17. Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand; 18. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 19. Singapore, Singapore

Traveled 30,000+ miles

Toured 17 countries

Worked in 19 cities

Designed 7 websites

Programmed 15 websites

Wrote 13,000+ lines of code

Travel photos
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Tip 1: Create a Routine

  • Set a consistent start and end time
  • Don’t let work invade personal time
  • Remain flexible and open to change
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“A good routine can make working from home (or the other side of the world) feel familiar.”

As important as a routine is, you have to embrace the unexpected. One day, when returning from lunch to my office in Cordoba, Argentina, I was stopped by a secret-service looking duo. I peered around these large men and saw an older gentleman in a suit — at my desk. Apparently, Argentina’s PRESIDENT was visiting my officemate. Staying flexible can lead to new opportunities and inspiration.

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Tip 2: Establish your workspace

  • Create an isolated workspace, free from distractions
  • Set expectations with others in your household
  • Make sure your workspace has what you need
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“Being comfortable, equipped and finding focus are crucial.”

I was fortunate to spend a month working from Koh Pha Ngan, an island in Thailand. My commute involved a half-mile, barefoot stroll along a nudist beach to an open-air co-working office right along the beach. Regardless of the distractions, having an isolated desk helped me tune out interference and get in the zone for a productive workday — so I could enjoy sunset on the beach when the workday was done.

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Tip 3: Communication is key

  • Find a substitute for small talk
  • Schedule a virtual coffee or video chat
  • Check in more regularly than average
Playing Football
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“These days we’re all stressed, so checking in a little more often is most likely appreciated.”

I spent a month working from Malaysia with a group of officemates who took “extra communication” seriously. Their home office was East Coast-based, so they’d work all through the night to meet with clients. Hopefully you won’t need to make calls at 3 a.m. to achieve successful communication, but reaching out a little extra can go a long way.

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Tip 4: Enjoy the ride

  • Trade commute time for you time
  • Tune out after the workday
  • Catch up with family and friends
Office with a view
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“If you can keep good work flowing, then there’s a real opportunity to enjoy the remote working lifestyle”

After all my efforts to maintain a schedule, design my workspace, and get everything done — sometimes I needed a little reminder to just enjoy it all. I’ll never forget the day my coworkers shook a snake out of an office chair at that beachside office in Thailand, yikes! While that wasn’t my idea of enjoying the ride, the experience put a big grin on my face as I walked home that day.